Monday, July 15, 2024

Comparative Study on Reduction Methods for Cronobacter sakazakii in Food Matrices

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Cronobacter sakazakii, a bacterium capable of thriving in low-water environments and resisting osmotic stress, is of significant concern in powdered infant milk due to its high mortality rates among neonates. Despite its low incidence, the bacterium’s presence in various products and the environment necessitates effective control measures. This study rigorously compares existing reduction techniques for C. sakazakii across different food matrices, shedding light on key parameters for optimizing these processes.

Cronobacter sakazakii poses severe health risks to neonates, with mortality rates ranging between 40% to 80%. This study delves into the efficacy of current reduction methods utilized in various food matrices to combat this pathogen, emphasizing the need for improved strategies. A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to categorize inactivation and control methods qualitatively and quantitatively assess the impact of treatment factors.

Methodology and Findings

The study employed hierarchical clustering dendrograms to evaluate the efficiency of each treatment method. The review highlighted a current research trend focusing on non-thermal treatment methods, particularly in dairy products. A random-effects meta-analysis yielded a summary effect-size of 4-log reduction. However, thermal methods and treatments on dairy matrices exhibited greater variability compared to vegetal matrices and biofilms.

Meta-analytical models revealed that factors such as chemical concentration, energy application, and treatment duration significantly impacted the reduction response more than temperature increases. Non-thermal treatments, when used synergistically with heat, demonstrated enhanced efficacy, especially in dairy matrices.

Key Insights and Implications

The study’s findings underscore the importance of optimizing treatment factors beyond merely increasing temperature. The insights gained from this research could guide the development of more effective strategies for controlling C. sakazakii in food products, particularly those intended for infant consumption.

The emphasis on non-thermal treatments offers a promising avenue, as these methods, combined with heat, can lead to more significant reductions in bacterial presence. The variability observed across different matrices suggests that tailored approaches may be necessary for different food types.

Practical Applications

– Non-thermal treatments combined with heat show the most promise in reducing C. sakazakii in dairy products.

– Chemical concentration, energy applied, and treatment time are critical factors in optimizing reduction methods.

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– Tailored approaches are essential for different food matrices to achieve efficient bacterial reduction.

These practical insights can help in formulating more targeted and effective strategies to control C. sakazakii, ultimately enhancing food safety, particularly for vulnerable populations like neonates.

Original Article: Int J Food Microbiol. 2024 Jun 17;421:110777. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2024.110777. Online ahead of print.

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